I remember wondering when our kids were little, if they would ever be out of diapers. Considering we actually changed diapers non-stop for 18 years, I think that was a legitimate concern! I wondered if they would ever go potty by themselves, or if I would ever go by MYSELF again. But as long as that season felt, it now seems like it all happened in the blink of an eye.
Lots of people would tell me how quickly it all goes by and yet, like many phases of parenting, you don’t really understand what that means until you are there.
Now I watch OUR girls nurse and change and snuggle THEIR babies. I watch them love being a new mommy, but also walk through the struggles that go along with it.
As hard as it can be and as lonely as we can feel during the season with littles, there are some wonderful and unique aspects that, if we choose to focus on them, can really help us enjoy this precious time. And it is a PRECIOUS and very special time. A time we can never get back.
There is a simplicity to this season with our littles that is hard to recognize until you are a little further down the parenting road. But TRUST ME, parenting during this stage is probably as simple as it will ever be. So I chose the acronymn S I M P L E to serve as a few reminders of what makes this season so particularly noteworthy.
S- See things for the first time. Children watch in wonder at so many things that, as adults, we don’t notice anymore. If you watch their expressions and responses to much of life, you suddenly have the gift of seeing everything for the first time. They smile easily and are enamored by the floating of dandelion seeds or a tiny tree frog. They will examine with intense wonder and excitement and we can experience some of that wonder right alongside them.
I- Impressionable. Kids are impressionable and will often mimic what we do and say. It can be a real eye opener and it can truly make you a better person as you strive to be someone worth imitating.
M- Magical. I am not even a fan of the word”magical”, but there is no denying the faith and imagination of a small child. It can be the soil where our wavering faith in us begins to take on new life as we see the value of unabandoned trust. It’s an example worth following and it really does almost feel magical.
P- Play. Especially as parents, we can lose that playfulness that is so attractive in children. Get down on the floor and play with your kids, seeing things from their perspective or at least sit back and get lost in watching the way they play. Sometimes I would just lay on the floor and let the kids crawl all over me or play with my hair or use their chubby little hands to move my mouth into different shapes. All I had to do was make myself accessible and their playfulness took it from there.
L- Love their moms. Let’s face it, every kid loves their mom. No matter how difficult the child, there’s a natural love for and desire to please mom. Enjoy the hugs and snuggles and the way they show their love so freely.
E- Expect very little. Kids enjoy the simple things in life and, unless we change that by overindulgence, it’s usually very easy to please a small child. It’s another wonderful reminder for us to focus on quality over quantity. More is not better…it’s just more. The joy that comes with camping out on the small and miraculous is pretty much unmatchable.
So take it from a Nana who’s been there (eight times). As exhausting as it can feel, the season with littles is exceptional. I encourage you to keep a simple routine and relish these fleeting moments. I guarantee you won’t regret it!